The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report for 2018 has placed Nigeria in the 145th position. This is 24 positions better than the 169th position the nation was ranked in the 2017 report.
According the report released by the World Bank on Tuesday, Nigeria is among the 10 top countries that improved on reforms. New Zealand is first on the ease of doing business for the second consecutive year.
The areas that Nigeria improved with reforms were in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering a property, getting credit and paying taxes.
With the improved ranking, Nigeria is back to the 145th position that it attained in 2013. The ranking is also 24 places higher than the 169th position that it had ranked in the 2017 report.
On the areas that the country had recorded improvements, the World Bank said, “Nigeria made starting a business faster by allowing electronic stamping of registration documents. This reform applies to both Kano and Lagos.
“Nigeria (Kano) increased transparency by publishing all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online. Nigeria (Lagos) made it easier to obtain construction permits by streamlining the process to obtain construction permits and increased transparency by publishing all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online.”
Unlike in the 2016 and 2017 reports where the nation was reported to have initiated two reforms each, the 2018 report stated that Nigeria implemented reforms in five areas thereby, placing the nation among top reformers in the region.
Mauritius, in 25th place in the Doing Business rankings, was the highest ranked economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other top economies in the region that performed well in the ranking are Rwanda (41), Kenya (80), Botswana (81) and South Africa (82).
The lowest ranked economies in the African region are Somalia (190), Eritrea (189), South Sudan (187) and Central African Republic (184).
One of the areas where Nigeria performed poorly was in access to electricity. While the average number of procedures it required to get electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa was put at 5.3, the number of procedures required in Nigeria was put at 10.
The average length of time it would take to get electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa was put at 115.3 while that of Nigeria was put 166 days.
On the reliability of supply and transparency of tariff index, Nigeria was rated zero (scale of zero to eight), while the average for Sub-Saharan Africa was put at 0.9.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commended the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over the improvement of Nigeria on the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President commended the PEBEC team for a job well done, saying he was looking forward to even greater achievements for the nation.
The statement read in part, “President Muhammadu Buhari welcomes most heartily the phenomenal improvement of Nigeria on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business latest rankings released on Tuesday.
“Besides moving up 24 places in the rankings, Nigeria is also reported by the World Bank to be among the top 10 reformers globally.
“The President congratulates all Nigerians on this very significant step forward, which symbolises the real success achieved by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, the National Assembly and state governments in making it easy for people to register their businesses speedily, and obtain licences and approvals from government agencies without unnecessary bureaucratic bottlenecks.”
Buhari was also quoted as saying that the development reflected government’s efforts to make it easy for foreign business visitors to obtain visa on arrival, pass through airports and do their business with ease and speed.
On his part, Osinbajo expressed excitement over the report and congratulated all stakeholders who worked with the Federal Government to achieve what he described as a significant result.
Osinbajo’s position was contained in a statement made available to journalists by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.
He said, “I welcome Nigeria’s improved performance. We are one of the top 10 reforming economies in the world in 2017. After a decade-long decline in Nigeria’s rankings, last year the Government recorded a modest increase.
“This year, Mr. President set us an ambitious target of moving up 20 places in the rankings; I am delighted that we have exceeded his goal.
“Improving the business environment is at the heart of the Buhari administration’s reform agenda. We are reinforcing our economic turnaround by a vigorous and active implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan so that businesses operating in Nigeria can thrive and be competitive globally.
“For the first time, coordinated efforts across various levels of governments have been undertaken to make it easier to do business in Nigeria.
“I commend all stakeholders who worked with us to achieve this significant result, particularly the National Assembly, Lagos and Kano state governments, and the private sector.”
Osinbajo said the present administration would continue to ensure that the SMEs operating in the country find it easier to do business.
He said the government’s ultimate success would be the testimonials received from business outfits across the country.
He stated that the report endorsed the direction that the government had been taking to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria over the last 12 to18 months.
The Vice President added that although the government had started getting positive feedback, there were still a lot of work to be done before the full impact of the reforms would be felt by all Nigerians.